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Question

Q

How do I know when to cover tomatoes so the do not freeze?

Answer(s)

A

As temperatures cool down tender crops like tomatoes will need some help if you would like to extend their growing season and protect them from frost.  A very effective method of protecting your tomatoes is to use mulch.  You can use several layers of newspaper, straw, chopped cornstalks or commercially made products.  Other methods of protection include using tarps, floating row covers, or blankets placed over the plants to supply some insulation.  These methods can help protect your plants from light frosts.  You can find more information and details on methods for protecting your plants at http://cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/722.pdf.

 

A tool that you can use to help determine when you would need to protect your tomatoes from freezing is the Utah freeze dates table located on the Utah Climate Center website http://climate.usurf.usu.edu/reports/freezeDates.php.  This table gives information for over 200 different stations located all over Utah.  Below is a sample of that table with the Salt Lake stations listed. 

 

Station Name

Last spring freeze

First fall freeze

Freeze-free

Period

Years

Early

Avg

Late

Early

Avg

Late

Short

Avg

Long

SALT LAKE CITY

19-Mar

11-Apr

30-Apr

11-Oct

31-Oct

21-Nov

178

205

236

1928-2002

26

SALT LAKE CITY AP

3-Apr

1-May

19-May

27-Sep

14-Oct

27-Oct

160

167

179

1928-2002

6

SALT LAKE CITY NWSFO

11-Mar

26-Apr

28-May

17-Sep

16-Oct

14-Nov

126

176

240

1928-2005

75

SALT LAKE CITY ZOO

31-Mar

27-Apr

13-May

18-Sep

17-Oct

2-Nov

140

176

219

1990-2005

10

SALT LAKE TRIAD CENTER

16-Feb

8-Apr

1-May

26-Oct

5-Nov

24-Nov

185

214

266

1985-2005

11

 

Posted on 11 Oct 2007

Heidi Wayman
Horticulture Intern, Salt Lake County

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